Santa Cruz & Beyond

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After lunch with Josie I drove straight to Santa Cruz in preparation for my grandpa’s, AKA King Arthur’s, 90th birthday party the following day. My mom is the most mellow yet shockingly efficient planner and doer I know. She often says that Jews always worry that there won’t be enough people or food at a party. Fortunately, my mom always overcompensates for both by inviting everyone she knows (she is the most popular woman in Santa Cruz) and by ordering way too much food. The last time I was in Santa Cruz, my mom, grandpa, and I dined at one of the very few and utterly delicious Thai restaurants in the Santa Cruz called Star of Siam. We had a great dinner that consisted of my grandpa saying, “C’mon ladies, stop giggling” and “This food is so unusual”. My mom proclaimed there and then that Star of Siam would be catering his big b-day bash. The day was equipped with a copious amount of delicious food, a beautiful cake from The Buttery, live music from local musician Keith Greeninger, and the man of the hour telling jokes.

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The party was a huge success but the following morning I was woken up at 4:45A by my insane mother that wanted me to do body pump with her-not as fun as it sounds. She is a work-out-aholic that is working on her black belt and told me that every morning she wakes up more than an hour before class because she is so excited. I often pride myself on always waking up in a pleasant disposition but this was pushing it. I reasoned that I had no tennis shoes but my mom offered to check my car as she knows my trunk doubles as a shoe closet. She came back with a pair of shoes that I have never been so unhappy to see. I went half asleep and the teacher Dio led a hard but refreshing workout class. My mom and my 8 year old brother are Minorsan regulars that are crazy about martial arts and practicing their moves on me when I come to visit. I always complain that workouts make me starved and exhausted so I required a breakfast sandwich from The Buttery and a long nap.

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The greatest meal of the trip was easily provided by Linwood’s at the Chaminade Resort. The Chaminade has some of the best views and food in Santa Cruz. My mom is a member and we decided to skip on the fancier and more expensive buffet at the Sunset Restaurant and instead dined on the simpler Linwood Bar & Grill menu. My mom, who often complains that whenever I am in town she gains on average 3 pounds, proved that she was a real foodie when she went crazy over her nori roll. I had a delicious, locally grown, Castroville grilled artichoke and a Caesar Salad. The bro went with a burger and fries and a Shirley Temple with 3 cherries.

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My family was a little sad the whole visit because Sunny who has lived with my family for more than a year was leaving for the summer and was going to be driving down to LA with me. Sunny was initially my brother’s preschool teacher but she has become a house mate, co-worker, and little sister to my mom and a big sister to me and my brother. Sunny mentioned that she wanted me to go to her going away party with the kids and I somehow thought she meant twenty year olds. I was wrong. Sunny’s kids were a party of 11 at I Love Sushi and as I learned most of Sunny’s friends are under 4 feet. It was a fun night of karaoke, free appetizers, and general tomfoolery. I Love Sushi has become a regular place for special occasions as we did my birthday and my brother’s Sushi and Disco party there as well. Is the food great? Not really, in my honest opinion. However, it is kid friendly and Mr. Kim is like the best ever. It is Sunny and my mom’s favorite place.

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In order to make the transition of Sunny and I leaving easier I bought my brother a glow in the dark Ouija Board and a glow in the dark basketball and my mom and I baked a pie. My mom is an awesome cook but not much of a baker due to the fact that she hates following directions. She is a perfect Uncouth Gourmand. My mom and I also share a passion for kitchen gadgets and prior to my visiting she threw an enormous Pampered Chef party. She told me about the caramel apple pie they all made and how she wanted to duplicate it. However, there were two problems. My mom didn’t have the special pie pan nor did we follow the recipe. We decided to put it in a bundt cake pan and eyeballed the recipe and then flipped it upside-down like the PC one. Who says baking can’t be makeshift? It all worked quite well despite the science that is normally needed.

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Sunny and I both had cute new haircuts from the lovely Tommy (Tommytito), of The Parlor in Santa Cruz, before we headed to SoCal. Tommy is one of maybe three people that I let cut my hair and my mom even let him give my little bro a buzz.

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Sunny and I left for the southern half of the state on Wednesday, just as Josie had requested. I talked a lot about my other UG half, Josie, on the drive down and Sunny was stoked on meeting her. We met up with Josie at one of my favorite izakaya places in Pasadena, Oba Sushi. I had the udon and sauteed mushrooms, Sunny had the beef sukiyaki and Josie had everything else on the menu. Exaggeration, she only had a veggie roll, rice, Oba fries, kara-age, and black sesame icecream. My favorite moment of dinner was not only reuniting with my bestie but the look on Sunny’s face as more and more plates were going to Josie. I also loved when Josie was picking up fries with chopsticks and when the straw of her soda went flying. I immediately yelled, “Uncouth” and Josie responded by saying, “The really uncouth part is that I am going to take it off the floor and use it again”.

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Josie had been working for more than ten hours and was in no position to go out. Let’s just say she was out of gas and then, sadly, later actually ran out of gas on the freeway. Sunny and I hit the town solo hitting up Big Foot Lodge and The Griffin. We were whiskey girls all night and Sunny managed to get more attention on her first night in LA than Josie and I have received all month. The UGs have lost their mojo and as Josie said at dinner we need to make a movie about finding it again like the Holy Grail. Sunny was commenting that everyone in LA had teen wolf haircuts and styles and I was in hysterics. It was a very fun night and I was happy to get to have a sleepover with her. The next morning, Thursday, we drove her to her hometown of Orange County where she would be staying all summer. We met up with her brother, his girlfriend, and her mom for a late lunch in Dana Point. The place we ended up heading to was, Tutor & Spunky’s, the very first place Sunny ever worked. The location was new but the people managing the store were the same and according to Sunny the special sauce was even better than what she remembered. I got a turkey and artichoke sandwich, which was perfect. I am a sandwich girl and this spot reminded me a lot of the beach delis I frequented while growing up in Santa Cruz. I suspected I would love it as soon as I met Teresa, who apparently was the first employee they ever had. Plus as a Diet Coke Head they had one of my top drinks, Coke Zero Vanilla, so I knew that I was in heaven. Biting into the sandwich proved it, as all of the ingredients were super fresh and the sandwich worked so nicely together. However, there is another not so happy reason why I won’t soon forget this sandwich. It was here, while eating my sandwich, that I learned of Farrah Fawcett’s death, Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest, and then ultimately his death. I am sure that in the future everyone will remember what they were doing when they learned about the death of the King of Pop and I like that mine can be associated with a positive food experience. This whole day has been surreal but it would be weirder to have any kind of memory that wasn’t somehow associated with food. I can guarantee you the UGs will be shaking their chonies to PYT, Thriller, and Billie Jean this weekend.

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Local Eats: Bur, Glen, Pas, Arc

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The Uncouth Gourmands’ Wedding Album continues…as read on on My Facebook Status:

Carina Ost: In Santa Cruz until Wed (according to the wife). Big party at my house today from 12-3 for my Grandpa’s 90th

Carina’s Friend Jaye: wife? lesbian now?

Carina Ost: Practically, but without the fun. We are business partners instead of life partners

Josie Mora: Like Oprah and Gayle? Arun can be Stedman

The beginning of the week was hectic, I was stuck at school overwhelmed with 50+ pages due on Monday and Tuesday. When I knew that I had to work all day at school on Saturday, there was only one silver lining and that was being in Burbank on a Saturday. You all better know what Saturdays in Burbank means; it means barbecue tri-tip sandwiches at Handy Market.

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I once wrote this on Yelp about the sandwich:

My freshman year in college this boy called me to ask me out on a date and I said “I don’t think so I just bought the most amazing looking sandwich and am planning on eating it tonight”. Every time I saw him after that he’d say, “remember the sandwich you blew me off for?”
Well I do remember the sandwich because I went back every Saturday for the BBQ Tri-Tip sandwich. That is the only day you can get it and you will never forget it.
The guy was not bad looking but the sandwich was much more memorable.

As soon as all my work was turned in I began to re-enter the world with my partner near my dining side. On Wednesday, Josie and I met with a photographer to discuss a possible UG photo shoot. We are thinking maybe white background, red dresses, UG bibs, and Carina with a crab leg in hand and Josie with ribs. Any other ideas? Okay on to the food, I was craving Middle Eastern and specifically Cafe Bravo’s cornish hen kabob with tabbouleh and yogurt with spinach. Josie had the chicken kabob with tabbouleh and hummus. We were famished. Our photographer looked at us as if we were animals as he  only sipped a Snapple. Josie, like always, put me to eating shame as she cleared her whole 2 plates and I did not. The food is so insane good, remember to ask for the garlic sauce (50 cents) which is similar to that of Zankou’s.

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Later that night Josie and I decided to do a late night work session. Josie lives near the racetrack and I have my favorite slush shop in Arcadia. I was feeling nice, okay mostly thirsty, so I grabbed us some for the evening. My slush place is called Genki Living and it is a trip, the inside of the shop looks likes the outside in  Tokyo. There is a tree in the middle and a telephone booth and benches. I got the Strawberry Mango slush and the Passion fruit one. My idea was to let Josie choose but I snuck some strawfulls in the car. I also picked up some wonton soup for myself and got Josie her favorite food-rice.

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Thursday, Josie stayed in and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on dinner to-go at Porta Via. My favorite food there is the Toscano Panini with no cheese and artichoke hearts inside. I also got some artichokes with green olives and capers, the meat lasagna, and a sugar cookie. My plan was to save the lasagna and artichokes for my drive to Santa Cruz the next day but that plan failed when I got home at 3am from the Viper Room and 3rd Stop. (Uncouth story: I found an iPhone in the toilet at the Viper Room).

My midnight snack ruined my driving lunch but Josie saved the day when she invited me to lunch with her and a talented cinematographer at Bistro Provence in Burbank. I wasn’t expecting much as it was in a strip mall. However, this little French place had fresh warm bread, reasonable prices, and very tasty food. Josie and I both had the broiled chicken with fries. I went crazy for the onions under the chicken in the garlic glaze. Josie also had  the goat cheese salad for a starter. Our male companion had the ahi salad, which was very fresh and quite good.

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I left for home with a full tummy and a smile on my face. However, I already miss my other UG half…Next time I will be kidnapping her!

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“Dating Drought-But a Laker Win” Weekend

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So the weekend started off early for the rowdy UG girls-Wednesday to be exact. Who does that…every week? We started it off right and headed to downtown to watch and root for our favorite home team in the finals, The Lakers. After a nightmarish parking situation, we headed to Casey’s for a quick drink. We watched the game there for a bit, but decided to try up an old place we’ve heard a lot about, but had yet to explore.

The Library Bar was packed with cute boys and better yet, a selection of edible goodies in a price range our pocketbooks could sustain. There must’ve been something in the air because Carina was fancying something she almost never orders, a burger! And ironically, I ordered something I seldom order-a salad! That should’ve been an ominous sign for the weekend, but we decided to test our fortune and stay with the lively locals. Carina was very impressed by her burger’s delectability and I was impressed by the light and well-seasoned salad that nourished my famished bones. In truth, I had a large lunch and was hesitant to try anything at all, but as you all know-the UG ladies are never ones to turn down a new food adventure. It’s gluttony over common sense any day. Plus, the UG’s don’t know shit about balance anyways. The food fared well and we were very happy with the crowd. Carina was just happy because she loves pickles, the girl is a pickle addict. I just heard a funny pun on the subject: Women who love pickles on sandwiches…really love dilled dough. At any rate, despite the small quarters, the Library Bar, was apparently THE place to be. The floor was so packed that a single trip to the bar proved to be an arduous endeavor.

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The uncouth moment of the night: Carina and I sat on the only empty couch in the packed house. We were amazed at the nature of our good luck. In total oblivion, we brushed it off as just luck and thanked our good UG fortune (God’s gift to me is my “princess parking”). A few minutes later, the people next to us asked what movie we were in. Confused and nervous we responded with, “um…pardon me?” They told us that the area was reserved for some LA Film Festival party. We gave them a blank stare *insert cricket noise AND awkward turtle motion here*. The Italian actor laughed and told us we were welcome there regardless of our acting aptitude. We all laughed and they took us into their family like the adopted red-headed orphan Annies’ that we are. We asked the Italian actor why he was drinking water and without a beat (actor terminology) he said, “I am only into drugs”. We made small chat, but mostly rooted for our victorious Laker team! Let me tell you, Laker fans are the most passionate and unruly people ever!

Nonetheless, I am amazed at the conviction displayed by my fellow Angelenos. Contrary to my previous post, our fellowship among this sport is proof that we are a conglomerate to be scared of (esp, during riots). But remember what Kobe, my boyfriend, says, “celebrate with dignity LA.” 🙂

***BTW, glad the City of LA is not paying for the parade (you know, if you don’t take into account the price of what it will take to keep order on the streets).

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Friday started off late and we decided to claim another piece of the city, Hollywood (or as the UG’s refer to it-Hollyweird). We were all set on going to a Lesbian disco that Carina heard about on Twitter. Will someone please propose a new empty pastime for Carina? The girl is addicted. But given our “dating drought,” I called Carina and said, “maybe going to a Lesbian disco would be a step backwards for us!” She laughed and quickly agreed. We were on a mission to meet boys and have fun! We picked up our friend, Meg and braved a bigger world of lights, camera, and pseudo actors! Meg is the funniest cat you’ve ever heard. For instance, here is her latest FB status update, “Meg’s favorite band has been The Cure for 18 years straight. Bet anyone who has said she/he has commitment issues is feeling pretty silly right now”. Needless to say, she keeps the laughs coming. Below is a collage of some of our misadventures through Citizen Smith, Beauty Bar, and the night’s favorite, Big Wangs. Who needs a photobooth when you have three girls and a camera? It’s no wonder we can’t get dates… We exploit any ounce of fun we can out of any given situation. I bet people are turned off by our collective shenanigans. As the old adage says, “Girls just a wanna have fun!” Or was that Cindy Lauper? 🙂

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By the end of the night, we were karoke’ing it up with ketchup bottles, harassing poor drunk boys, dancing to Rhianna’s “Umbrella” by making umbrellas with our arms, and eating the best freakin’ chicken wings ever! Some very funny drunk boy even puked all over the floor next to Carina’s purse and jacket! No harm though; he missed by an inch! The same drunk boy, or “puke boy” as we called him, came up to us earlier and started rambling incoherent jabber. And while he was talking to us earlier that night, his brother approached our table and said, “hey, dude, mom’s waiting outside”. That got the first laughter of the night going.

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On our way home, we got to talking about how we hadn’t had a date in weeks (and for one of us-months) and coincidentally how the number of hits on the blog were dropping. I turned around and told Carina, “we are not getting laid, therefore we are not getting hits!” She agreed. We have too much fun together and at the end of the day, I’d rather have friends than dates (although come back dates and hits…we miss you). Are we just having a few bad weeks? Or is it that we really aren’t fit for dating? I’ve been on a few fleeting dates with a bunch of assholes who have evidently been way too into themselves to even pick up a phone. Can I get an injunction to arrest these men for lying? Legal assistance, please! Meanwhile, the wife has had no luck on J Date We are hopeless! I’m starting to think we were made for each other! Maybe it’s us? Or perhaps, it is that we have so much more to learn about men? Regardless, we are exhausted! On the bright side, here’s a little perspective, Carina and I do have:

1. An education

2. A fabulous job with good career trajectory

3. Great apartments

4. And each other

Truthfully, we shouldn’t be sulking. We have it all.

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A giant urinal in Hollywood? Not weird?! Hello, we’re conservative Pasadena girls! We couldn’t resist a picture.

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The final night of our journey ended with the Mayor (or Mr. Arun, to be exact). If you live in Los Angeles, I am sure you know someone that knows someone who knows Arun. He’s like the Kevin Bacon of LA. Annnnywayyyyys….He had told me about Bar Chloe in Santa Monica a few nights before and being the butterflies that we are, we followed him to yet another side of town, the Westside. We got there fashionably early and joked about how we are too easy (no, not that kind of easy-if we did we’d have hits), but the kind of easy that we never say no to any friendly invitation. Arun says we need to play a little harder to get and be less available. If we were dating, this is when he would’ve broken up with us. And sadly for us, he’d be doing the right thing:) We partied down with Veronica, Erin, John, and Arun.

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Bar Chloe proved to be too couth for us. It is a quaint French lounge inhabited with a wealthy, but mellow crowd. Carina and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves because we are neither wealthy, nor mellow. We stuck around for a few drinks and headed off to The W Hotel in Westwood to meet up with our friend, Nora. Everything was perfect at the W. We got princess parking (after all I was driving), got right in, and partied down until 2AM.

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We ended the night at Lucky Boy in Pasadena. You have to remember, these UG Girls don’t know anything about balance. And the UG’s had, of course, the most phallic things on the menu. I had a breakfast burrito and Carina had a corn dog! Truly symptomatic of a lack of dating. We don’t plan these things, I swear! They just seem to happen to us. On a side note, it has always been my dream of having a website called, GirlsEatingBurritos.com.

Awkward Turtle/Funny Moment: The most truly unbelievable thing happened at Lucky Boy; we were beyond unlucky girls. At night Lucky Boy’s closes their indoor dining area and you can only order at the outside window and sit at the tables on the patio. We grabbed the only free table and it was gross, salsa was everywhere, but we are uncouth so sat down no problem. There was a rose on the bench I was sitting on so I thought it was a good sign. I picked it up and pretended that it was from my secret admirer. Carina played along acting jealous that she didn’t have one. All of the sudden I got a tap on my shoulder from the guy at the next table who said, “Excuse me, do you happen to have a rose at your table?” I nodded and said, “Yes, it was from my boyfriend.” He was trying to be kind and diplomatic and responded by saying, “You are very beautiful so I can believe that but that rose is actually mine for my girlfriend, can I have it back?” I was mortified as I handed it over. His girlfriend was glaring. And Carina was in hysterics saying, “That happened on the Bachelor, when during the rose ceremony he gave the rose to the wrong girl and had to get it back”

We had a good weekend. The UG girls live in a world where friends are everything and the men are disposable.

As an end to a fabulous weekend, on Sunday, we ate great at Taste of the Nation LA and then the Lakers claimed victory over the Orlando Magic in our very own hometown. Go LAL! We had no doubt you’d come through.

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We Loved the Taste!

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We have been very poor Uncouth Gourmands lately and sadly had to miss Pasadena Restaurant Week, but there was one event that we were not willing to miss…Taste of the Nation LA. It featured the best (high end) restaurants in LA, the best chefs in LA, and best of all it helped to end childhood hunger. The ticket price was too steep for us but we had an alternative, we could volunteer! As soon as our blogger idol, Eating LA, posted that volunteers were needed we jumped all over that. We had great, but always uncouth emails with the volunteer organizer Paul. He hooked us up with the book table area. We were thrilled; we love cookbooks, authors, chefs and combined is perfection. We grabbed our Starbucks and Noah’s Bagels (FYI-Josie wants you all to know that she thinks paying $3 for a bagel is atrocious) and were ready to take on hunger, ironically, by eating and helping to get cookbooks sold. Our new friend SinoSoul said it best on his Twitter, “Oxymoron: stuff your face @ Taste of the Nation so children can be fed. yet it’s hard not to have a blast…” We got our wristbands, shirts, and nametags and we helped to set up the cookbooks. Josie does design for a living and created a beautiful display that I helped implement. Our old friend (in our imagination) Jonathan Gold, aka the food god genius that’s “just not that into us”, was moved from our area to the LA Weekly booth. However, we were still going to be in the presence of amazing chefs and authors. Here is that famous shot of J. Gold uninterested in the Uncouth Gourmands to refresh your memory.

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IMG_1985The cookbook authors were all extremely impressive. We met and helped sell books for Evan Kleinman (whose book was first published 19 years ago and is Executive Chef at Angeli Caffe), Mariel Hemingway (Oscar winner for playing Woody’s teenage girlfriend in Manhattan, healthy living expert, and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway), Nancy Silverton (of La Brea Bakery and now Osteria Mozza), Michael Mina (world renowned chef who flew in from SF just for the event, we promised him we would visit XIV as soon as we had some dinero), and JoAnn Cianciulli (who will be speaking and cooking at Barnes & Noble in the Grove, just feet away from her inspiration, the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market, on the 24th). I know that for most of you these great chefs need no introduction but this is the uncouth version.

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So all work and no food, didn’t the UGs get to eat? Let me put it this way, the chef at Border Grill walked up to Josie and said, “Everytime I have seen you, you have something different in your mouth and hands”. You better believe we ate. Since this all went to a great cause we will only discuss the great, but in all honesty we didn’t eat anything bad.

IMG_1988Carina is reluctantly Nobu obsessed. She doesn’t want to like it but loves it so much. The lettuce wrapped black cod was incredible. Josie is allergic to seafood so can’t comment.

IMG_1987Josie went crazy for the lambwich from Venice Beach Wines and by crazy I mean she ate more than two. Carina is not a big fan of lamb so shouldn’t judge such meat.

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There were a few dishes that we both went crazy over. We loved the caprese salad with a big slice of a peach on it from Cube Cafe and Marketplace. Another dish we loved was the Reuben sandwich from bld Restaurant. This may be insignificant but I am obsessed with their logo and how it looks like a table and chairs, and stands for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We haven’t seen a logo so cool since the u spork g for Uncouth Gourmands, relax, we kid. By the way, we have important news, I asked the owner if BLD is coming to Pasadena and she said, “There is some talk, how did you hear that?” I told her I read it on a Pasadena blog and she smiled confirming that it is in fact true. We are thrilled, we need some new restaurant blood in Pasadena. We ate a ton but it was so hot we mostly stuck to water and delicious iced lattes from LA Mill Coffee so we can’t really comment on the wine other then saying that there was a ton of wineries and breweries there. One cool drink we experienced was the Nitro Margarita with salt foam from Bazaar.

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As with almost every eating event or experience it comes down to the people you are surrounded by. We are so thrilled that in the 6 months of having our blog we already have so many amazing foodie friends that we get to run into. Today we saw Tony of Sino Soul, Dawson and her Beer of Yelp LA, our friend and Freshman in the Kitchen author Eli, and Octavio of Palate. We even made a new friend, H.C. of the very popular LA and OC Foodie. I think we made some people angry when we took all the attention away from the authors as people came up to us and said, “Are you the Uncouth Gourmands?” Anyway, H.C. is very cool and we are so happy he approved us as guests for Blogger Prom.

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Of course, when the UGs are in attendance at any event uncouthness is bound to ensue. We very much enjoyed the waiter race where some very quick and skilled waiters were doing the spilling, instead of us. Don’t worry we still had our share. At one point, Josie asked me to grab her another lambwich and I said, “No Josie, I just bought you a salad.” We started cracking up because all of the food was free and therefore my excuse sucked. All of the volunteers were kindly given a free pair of flip-flops at the end of the day. A man, concerned and out of breath, ran after Josie. Once he caught up with her, he tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Ma’am you left your shoes on the table”. I was in hysterics, there on the beautiful LA Mill spread was Josie’s flip-flops. Paul, the mathematician and volunteer coordinator, came up to us thinking that we were making fun of the shoes. Nope, just our own stupidity.

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Anyway, it was such a truly great food event and we were so happy to get to be a part of it! I asked Josie in the car after we left, “If we would have paid $150 for the event would it have been worth it?” She said, “Yes, but we wouldn’t have been able to meet so many cool people.” That is true. Hopefully, next year we will be in the financial position to buy tickets but we still would want to volunteer to be part of this amazing event and cause.

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Boom Chaka, Lacka Boom

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So I’ve recently inherited a profound case of insomnia and after Friday’s third wind, I woke up on Saturday at 10A after days of brutal sleep and went to work. I feel a lot like Ed Norton in Fight Club…(silent scream) HELP! After a ruthless sixth day of work, I deliberated to once again beat myself up and go out with Carina, Krissy, and a boy who I was supposed to go out on date with a while ago, but had never connected with until now. One problem: the wife was exhausted and opted to stay in. I called Krissy and she asked me where we were going. I told her that Carina and I went to the Cha Cha Lounge in Silverlake last week and had a good time. To which she snobbishly responded, “I hate Silverlake! The people that live there aren’t native Californians. They all come here to find themselves. Why the f*@! would you come to California to find yourself? I think that’s so f*@!ing weird!” I laughed hysterically, but managed to cast a shadow of doubt in her mind and she obliged. I picked her up and met up with two confirmed yeses, two maybes, and one surprise guest and his rugby friends. We had a great time with a lot of cool people who didn’t really know each other, but that all managed to enjoy the company. However, it was perhaps Krissy that was the biggest hit! After a few drinks, Krissy worked the room real good! Which was fortunate because she (like all us Pasadena girls) has been in a dating desert! I didn’t want to admit it myself because if you say it, you think it, and if you think it, you got it. Oh no-we’re cursed! Unfortunately, by the end of the night Krissy drank herself into quite a stupor, puked all over her mom’s prized rose bushes, and managed to get a quick swift in the ass by her mother in the form of an eviction, but that’s another story…

Which brings me to a quick diatribe. Why the f*@! are people in LA so f*@!ing self-absorbed? I mean, really?! And believe me, I LOVE LA! As a native Angeleno, I have even professed my love for it publicly on my blog.

To me, LA has always been an exciting diaspora of really interesting people. However, it seems that recently “under the hood” of the people Carina and I have come across (both in business and dating) have not been all that sexy (and I mean that on a purely intellectual basis). Come on people! What the f*@! is wrong with you? Wake up and look outside yourself for once!  Would it kill you to respond to an email, call when you say you will, and not flake out on a f@!*ing date?  Those things are rude-and sadly, so are you. Get over yourself! I’m pissed, sorry! I, like Krissy, am starting the blame the “out of towners.” Which is probably what has led Krissy to her most mandatory vital sign to dating, which is:

  • Your SS number must start with a six (which, in her mind, apparently means you were born in California and meet a certain age requirement)

Other vitals (all of which are hilarious but prove my point) include:

  • You must be at least 6’2
  • Weigh over 220 pounds
  • Have a job
  • Have a car
  • You must talk to your parents at least once a day
  • And go to the gym at least ONCE a DAY

She’s so silly. It’s no wonder she’s in a dating desert. In short, that’s why so many of my LA peeps suck, but I digress.

cha cha

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After an early (3A) Monday at the LA Flower Mart, I decided to go home at 1:30P and sleep peacefully until 4P. After waking up a bit more invigorated, I trekked over to Urth Caffé in Downtown LA to work alongside a hot cup of tea and a Baker’s Special. The Baker’s Special consists of the bottom shelf pastries which are marked down to $3-$4. This is especially great considering that eating in Los Angeles has made Carina and I functionally bankrupt. Needless to say, it’s worth the drive. Later in the night, my phone rang and to my surprise, it was the lovely Carina. But why was she calling at 8:40? I was worried, it was Monday and she should be in class until 10? Was I living in the wrong day? I’m being dramatic! Simple explanation-her professor let ’em out early. Anyways…we were obviously both hungry (when are we not?) and so I invited Carina to finally go try Wurstkuche in downtown. I had shamefully come into some money after I told my dad that I was broke. He asked me how much I needed and I said, “$100.” To which he responded, “$100! But you’re a grown woman!” And I said, “I know, that’s why I need so much!”

I’m not sure if it was Arun or our own addiction to the news crawl that turned us onto the place, but after six months past its grand opening, we had yet to indulge in the hype. After getting lost a few times over, we finally got there at around 9:15P. The place is set in the heart of the Arts District in downtown marked only by a conspicuously brightly painted door. One foot in the door and you know immediately where you are. The smell of sausage is oh so titillating. I was daunted and excited at the same time. When we walked in we were greeted kindly and casually by the cooks. I thought to myself, “hey, not a bad place!” I was further convinced when I saw the large menu of gourmet sausages and was only disappointed that I would only be trying one (sadly, each is priced at over $6-and being functionally bankrupt we could only try one each).

Once you place your order you go through a long walkway into the main room. The place was rich with wood countertops, concrete floors, and high ceilings. To the UG pleasure, the tables are all communal and an assortment of various mustards and ketchups stand tall at each table. The dim lighting seems to be a plus and the turnout given the Monday weeknight was boisterous and lively. I work at a design firm so I immediately drooled over the handcrafted iron-made numbers seen below. From the minute I saw them, I knew they were one of a kind (I was reassured later). Carina seemed all too unimpressed by the decor and wrote it off as too minimalist, she is a bit of a color whore-the girl has an orange couch!

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I opted to go with the most simple of all the gourmet selections-I figured, the best has to be the most simple, right? I thought, there could be no way to f*!@ that up. So I ordered the veal one, the Bostworth. I accompanied it with sauerkraut and caramelized onion. My counterpart ordered the Sun-dried Tomato Mozzarella which she paired with onions and sweet peppers. She liked mine better and so did I. That never happens with Carina! Fortunately, we almost always prefer our own ordering.

***The first pic in post is of us at Wurstkuche with our dogs. It’s amazing how I, who never sleeps, is wide awake and while Carina who sleeps in the library all day is falling asleep on her sausage!

Bottom line: We liked the concept more than the actual place. The Oktoberfest motif and the Chimay on tap is nice in theory, but we were sadly unimpressed by the wait time of our food and our first waiter, who seemed to hardly acknowledge our presence after asked several questions. But hey, he had friends to talk to at the next table over….Usually after this much rejection I’d be drooling (girls like it the hard way), but I wasn’t in love. Similarly, neither was Carina. In fact, she said that she’s had better dogs from Costco and Trader Joe’s-OUCH! She is also a big bread quality snob and was angry by the bad quality buns. Luckily, by the end of the night we got a formal education on the joint by our very sweet bartender and all was made right in terms of service. I can safely say that given the copious amounts of incredible dogs in the city we live in, most of which are priced at a modest $1-2, I find it hard to pay 3-4 times the going rate for a marginally better dog. It seems the price to value ratio seems somewhat askew. Plus I am a girl that loves the bacon wrapped street vendor dogs. However, we will definitely try it again with more sleep, better ordering, and perhaps earlier in the day when the buns are fresher. We were told by our Royal Clayton’s friend who happened to be dining there that the Rattlesnake dog is the way to go. Any other suggestions?

IMG_0823IMG_0830Below is a homemade lemon tart by my co-worker, Jason. He thinks he’s an engineer, but I think he’s just a genius. Ms. Josie is happy at work when her co-workers feed her (hint, hint…). It was so good! Even though it was two days old, it still melted like pure butta’-which I am assured it wasn’t, but I have my doubts. Egh…I’ve never turned down a good dessert for its lard content and I never will! 
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tart shot

Free Food + Friends = Fun Friday

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On Thursday morning I was in bed taking care of business. No, not that! I was responding to emails on barely any sleep and following-up with the volunteer coordinator for Taste of the Nation about Josie and I volunteering for the event, in effort to save money. I was sleep deprived and uncouthly wrote, “we are at your disposable”. I Tweeted about this blunder and then read the greatest Tweet from InkFoodie offering a free dinner for two at Fleming’s for the first to answer this question: what year was Flemings launched in Newport Beach? Since I was still in bed, with a Blackberry in hand, I called Fleming’s in Newport and asked when they first opened. I received the answer right away, tweeted it, and was then declared a winner. I called Josie to tell her the good news and she was on her lunch break and said she just won a free Fro Yo at Ikea for filling out a survey. We were winners, for once. I had a plan to pick her up Friday night and head to our free dinner in Woodland Hills. However, in typical Uncouth Gourmand fashion something got in the way, I got a flat tire on the way there. It was my first ever. Josie rescued me. Of course, I chose dinner over AAA and just figured I would deal with it after a good meal and a couple of glasses of wine. Traffic was atrocious and parking was even worse. Neither one of us had cash for valet so we drove around forever. But hey it was our first free meal in a very long time and we were going no matter what. It was the Napa vs. Sonoma Dinner which meant a lot of wine. We were escorted to a private room with two large tables already filled with people on the first course, with a champagne flute down, and already on to their Napa and Sonoma glasses of Chardonnay. The first course was a seafood cocktail but Josie got carpaccio due to her allergy.

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The second course was filet mignon with seared ahi and yukon potato balls. It was very good but I should have ordered mine rare. I looked at Josie and said, “Why don’t I ever eat steak?”. She said, “I know, it’s so good” We are not really steakhouse girls but that is mostly due to the ambiance which doesn’t always welcome our uncouthness. However, we are definitely meat eaters. It was around this time I was overwhelmed by how many drinks I had. I now had a Sonoma and a Napa fab cab to add to the drinks in front of me.

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Our table mates were all tipsy and wonderful and were giving us dating advice. There was an engaged couple at our table with mom and dad. I grilled the son on where I can meet a nice Jewish man, like himself, as Jdate isn’t panning out. (Oh yeah, that is “grill” and “pan” in the same sentence and I am not even discussing food). Our favorite at the table was the husband and wife couple that was across from us. The husband is a writer for LA Daily News and the wife is on Twitter as well as being a cat lover and animal activist. We told them that we were thinking about going to The Hangover premiere after party later that night and the husband said, “I could have written that movie”. The wife was telling us how to meet a man and then said, “Maybe you two are soulmates”. We looked at each other and laughed.

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The dessert was probably our favorite course. It was an apple cobbler with an aged cheddar. After the meal they did a raffle where every reservation group won a bottle of wine. It was my kind of raffle and I chose my favorite wine of the night the 2006 Picket Fence Chardonnay from Sonoma. I don’t know who won, Napa or Sonoma, but we definitely did! I kept getting the glasses confused and made them repeat a million times “Napa on the left and Sonoma on the right”. The best part of the evening was the company and the food but the $0.00 (say it like Dean Wormer in Animal House, zero point zero) check wasn’t too bad either.

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It was a great meal and we want to thank Fleming’s for taking such great care of us and Ink Foundry for the opportunity to win. As soon as we got on the Freeway I called AAA so that they’d be at my car by the time I arrived. Of course, they weren’t. I listened to the amazing Denise Richards interview on Howard Stern while I waited; the wine from dinner also helped my impatience. Josie went to shower and change at her friends house and I met up with them later. It was very tricky not going over 50 on the freeway. I know it was National Donut Day but that doesn’t mean I wanted to drive on one! Josie’s friend, Krissy, ended up not wanting to go out, we decide to skip The Hangover after party at Elevate, and headed to Tony’s Bar instead. We hadn’t been there since the soft opening and our downtown friends were already there. The drinks were super strong, last time I went with beer so I couldn’t report on such things. Also the place was bustling, much more than the first time we went, and we discovered the ping-pong table outside.

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Nobu and Largo

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Josie and I had our first date night in quite a while. I have to say that the whole thing was sort of put together by Twitter. I read on one of LAist tweets that Fiona Apple was playing a surprise show as a guest at Largo. I am a huge Fiona Apple fan; the Extraordinary Machine album was one of those life changing CDs for me. Josie is not much of a fan, so I purchased tickets first and told her about it second. She agreed. She was busy doing work on the Westside anyway so I simply met her down there after fighting through the always terrible drizzle traffic. I was having a very Josie-esque afternoon, dropping off my clothes at the cheapest fluff and fold (Spin Cycle in Highland Park-I will be forever indebted to Josie for telling me about this place), and then heading to Fashion 21 (the first Forever 21) to buy a raincoat as I was barely wearing any clothes in the rain. I picked up the tickets around 6:30 and while debating where to get some grub before the show Josie said, “Didn’t you tell me Nobu WeHo has a happy hour?” I did in fact say that because I read it on EatingLA’s tweet a couple of days ago. We both were nearly killed crossing La Cienega but it was totally worth it. I arrived at Nobu first and the bar was completely empty, business picked up greatly around 7:30. I had a couple of lovely $6 glasses of wine, Sophia’s Symphony, and began ordering from the Happy Hour menu. I started with the baby artichoke and leek salad and the ginger crusted scallops. Both were phenomenal, the artichokes were shaved and the scallops were amazing quality and were perfectly cooked/undercooked.

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Josie has a very unfortunate allergy to almost all seafood. She had very limited choices and went with 2 bowls of rice and a hearts of palm salad which left her mouth on fire. It was delicious, but I am a girl that eats hearts of palm straight from the can on a regular basis. I was in food heaven and even commented to Josie that I could sit here all day and just order more and more. She laughed and said, “Wait until the bill comes”. I ordered some whitefish tiradito which I described as “insane good”. I am not that big of a sashimi fan and actually haven’t had it since I was in Tokyo for Christmas but this was out of this world. Super fresh, perfectly seasoned, and I was very glad I didn’t have to share. I think Josie was a bit annoyed. I was raving on and on and she got charged 7 dollars for a Sugarfree Redbull-with no vodka. Insanity. However, I was in food and wine heaven all night. I am still thinking about the food and wondering when I can go back. These kind of celebrity infused restaurants I really want to dislike or throw down words like “overrated” but the quality of fish and the flavor trumps all. I was really impressed.

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I drove us to our next date stop slightly further down La Cienega. Tickets were $20 each and seating was assigned we definitely had princess seating, D22 and D24, in the small intimate theater. The first performer up was the charming and adorable Tom Brosseau, Josie said he reminded her of a cartoon character. The main performers, who have a monthly gig at Largo, was the Watkins Family. Comprised of brother and sister, Sean and Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek. They were amazing and apparently whoever is in town at the time joins them. Last night they had John C. Reilly (that’s right Dewey Cox himself), former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on mandolin, and Fiona Apple. It was a great night of music from fiddles to cellos to mandolins.

No wonder Josie and I can’t get a date, we have too much fun together. Find me a man that can top Nobu and Fiona Apple with my bestie.